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Chevrolet Malibu Oil Changes/Service Questions



  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    yeah, the oil life monitor is very close to zero when I do my 6,000 mile Mobil 1 changes.

    As for your ramps, don't get any!! The Maxx has plenty of room to crawl under to get both the oil plug and filter. I use a long plastic oil catcher that I bought at Walmart; it allow me to drain the pan and filter at the same time. Please don't waste your money on ramps or jacks.
  • maxxindmaxxind Posts: 22
    True, you can probably do the oil change without raising the car at all, but it's easier to do with ramps, especially the first time when a person may not know where everything is. I have a pretty hard time sliding under the front spoiler on the Maxx without ramps; maybe I just need to go on a diet.
  • starpop1starpop1 Posts: 10
    Thank you for the help. I'm in my 60's so I will look for a set of ramps that will work with my MAXX. Just a lot easier and more comfortable, and I still know the job will be done right. Peter
  • clay94clay94 Posts: 2
    Brake lights weren't working on either side (just the center light), but found that the parking lights work on the passenger side. Checked brake fuses, no problem. Disassembled the rear light assembly, two bad bulbs in the left one, two good ones in the right one. Tried the good bulbs in the left assembly, no luck for parking or brake. Before I did all this the backing and blinker worked on the left, now they don't. Will check the swith on the brake pedal tonight, but still need to get the blinker and backing lights working.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    If your center high-mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) works then the problem with the brake lights likely isn't with the stop lamp switch because that switch feeds all those lamps.

    Do the turn and back-up lamps work on the right side (just the brake lamp didn't work)? You might want to try just temporarily plugging right lamp into left connector and visa versa and see what problems move with the lamp assembly. The turn and back-up functions will be reversed but you can still check all functions.
  • clay94clay94 Posts: 2
    You're right, the brake switch works just fine, a bit of a pain to get to though.

    Yes,the turn and back-up lamps work on the right side, and now the brake lamp does as well, and I don't know why that works now. I noticed that the licence plate lamp wiring runs right along with the driver-side tail lamp wiring, and the licence plate bulb does not work either. Does that provide more of a clue? Could it be something to do with where the wiring comes out the back of the fuse panel?

    I will switch the assemblies this evening and see what that shows. I thought of doing that, but wasn't sure if they were interchangable like that.

    Thanks for the tips.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    OK - did you say that the tail lamps on right side are working now also?? Basically the problem is only with the left lamp (where nothing is working) and the licence lamp?

    The stop lamp on right side may have started working again because you played with the bulbs.
  • mdennishmdennish Posts: 16
    just replaced the original bridgestone tires with new michelin x radial dt tires from sams club and what an improvement in noise,cornering,braking,etc. sams club has discounted the tire p215/60r16 to $83.00 per tire
  • lcw1lcw1 Posts: 36
    Can some one tell me the tire pressure front and rear for the bridgestone tires on a 2005 Maxx? I purchased my car used but the tire label was removed.
  • mdennishmdennish Posts: 16
    30 lbs psi front and rear, check on a monthly basis and inflate if required, my bridgestones would lose approx: 3 lbs per month!
  • lcw1lcw1 Posts: 36
    Thanks you both.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Although 30 lb. is not Ford Explorer dangerously low, IMHO American car manufacturers still like to recommend low tire pressures to give a smooth ride. I've raised mine to 36 lb., handling hasn't suffered and mileage of both car and tires should improve.
  • crosby1crosby1 Posts: 23
    I put a 2x4 under the front tires and have plenty of room to change oil. It is the easiest car I've ever owned for changing oil. I use synthetic, either the extended Mobil 1 or the new extended Amsoil. Amsoil has a new nano fiber oil filter which is far more effecient than any other it has produced, both for capacity of holding dirt and for filtering out small particles. Most damage is caused by particles smaller than the vast majority of oil filters can remove (I believe between 5-12 microns). Amsoil claims it can filter down to 1 micron, far exceeding any other filter on the market that sells for less than 30 bucks (the new Amsoil filter costs around 17 including shipping).
    Its a lot of money compared to most filters but a clean running engine is an efficient running engine especially with modern sensors that once fouled by burning oil will lead to poor gas mileage and performance.
    No I am not an Amsoil dealer nor do I intend to become one.
    I run my cars till they drop, so the extra money up front is more easily justified.
  • cwesleygcwesleyg Posts: 64
    You should never change you oil while on jackstands. Oil changes should be done with the car on a level surface. If you have to lift it, drive it onto 4 sets of double stacked and screwed 2x6's, and be sure to set the parking brake, or chock the tires. Home oil changes are a pain. It is worth the money to just have it done. Too many people don't recycle the old oil responsibly anyway...
  • I don't have a service manual yet and was wondering if their are any grease fittings to lube up on an 03 malibu?
    I dont seem to see any, anywhere.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Manifold gasket repair looks fair. labor intensive.

    Brake job: if it included new rotors as well as pads, it is in the range.

    Suspension job: Looks a bit high but I am not sure what exactly was done.
  • I don't have a Malibu, but I do have a GM with the ubiquitous 2.2L Ecotec that is in most Malibus. I use 5w-30 oil, changes every 4mos/4k miles. At that interval, the used oil is thin as water. I wonder if perhaps I should change it more often.....on the other hand, for a small engine, its crankcase takes 5 quarts, which is nice insurance. More oil in the crankcase means better lubing......the oil filter is a marvel of engineering. No more greasy spin-on filters!!
  • To each their own. It may be a pain for most to do their own oil, but there's those of us that have several drivers and vehicles in the household so there is an economy of scale. But that's not to say you should or should not change your own - that's your choice.

    The oil drain on the new Malibu is at the lowest point in the back of the pan so why would it be important to drain the oil whilst the car is level? Raising the front 4-5 inches to gain access is not going to make a difference on what drains out anyway. I do run mine up on a set of homemade ramps but wouldn't have a problem with a car on jackstands. I've been wrenching on these mobiles for 35 years including complete engine teardowns and rebuilds, just to set the record.

    It is much more convienent to have an oil change outfit do it for you, it is cleaner, etc but I got tired of telling the gizmos that I didn't want anything more than an oil change and lube. I quit OilCanHenrys when they quit using Valvoline. The other reason I quit going to those places? If they fergit fill your crankcase and you drive away, you are responsible for the damage to the engine. YOU are, not them. If I'm the responsible party, then I'll be the one to put oil in my engine. The aforementioned outfit underfilled my auto tranny once, the ol' pontiac was never quite the same after that.

    I drain my filters and recycle them, the oil, every drop, goes to the recycling center. I know of no one these days that doesn't recycle their used oil. My pops used to pour it along the fence lines to kill the weeds and grass, I use 2-4d to do the same thing.

    Again - To each their own.

    --BruceMc, '04Maxx...
  • In general, it is considered a bad pratice to use ramps when changing oil, and frankly, unless you are driving a slammed low rider, it is not necessary.

    My Dad did the same weed control with his old oil... but became more enlightened in his latter years. As for people recycling, many people still dump it on the ground for "dust control" and many others abandon it in milk jugs in retail dumpsters... or leave it with the old refrigerators and tires along the road at clandestine dump sites... aka: dead end dirt roads.

    As for the retail oil change... my place delivers the dip stick to my door and shows me the full level. If they did not, I'd ask for them to do so. I changed my own oil from 1974 to 1999. My time is too valuable to step back into changing my own oil. Its just not worth the trouble.
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    I don't agree about the ramps as being a bad practice. I've changed may oil for twenty years using ramps with no mishaps. I always block the the tires before getting under my vehicle i don't know if you due.

    This is how I spotted the two oil leaks on my o5 malibu so GM could fix them before they became a large problem. It's preventive maintenance.
  • Anyone know how to change a thermostat in a 04 Malibu? My gauge is stuck at COLD.

  • Are you getting a lot of heat out of the heater after running it for a period of time? Then it's not the thermostat. I have thrice had a problem over the last two years where I've run my '04 Maxx for awhile, say a half hour up to 4 hours, then stopped for a half hour or so, then upon starting out again, the temp gauge sits on the C mark while the engine idles fast 'cause the computer thinks the engine is cold. To get it to return to normal operation, I have to let the car cool down overnight, then it's ok.

    In your case, if you are getting good heat from the heater, it sounds like the temp sender is bad or the wiring/connections between it and the BCM.

    I took mine to the dealer just before the warrenty expired complaining of this and a couple other issues, so they have it in writing it was an issue within the warrenty period. When it happens again, I'll run it into the dealer and make 'em fix it on their dime. If you are still within your warrenty period, then make the dealer fix it. Otherwise, I'd start with the temp sender.

    Good luck; let us know what you find.

    --BruceM; 04Maxx
  • Thanks for the info. I had some heat, but not intense heat...enough to tell that when I went between cold and hot I could feel the difference....not a huge difference...but some. This morning the gauge went back to normal and at lunch it was @ normal as well. I have 52000 miles on the car, so its out of warranty (rats!!). Thanks again!
  • It is not about mishaps. Its about not getting all the oil out. On the Maxx it is not a big issue, but on some cars you can leave behind quite a bit of old oil.
  • rvothrvoth Posts: 147
    Possible a half to one liter could be left behind if you have a overhead cam engines, which the 3.5 liter engine isn't.
    Cars like the honda, toyota, nissan that use overhead cam engines will hold alot more oil in the mechanical parts of the heads. Twice as many valves,rockers and cams, will trap all of oil. :surprise:
    At these lube shops, how long do they wait after the engine is stopped before draining the oil. Five or ten minutes? I bet you they don't, time is money for them. If they don't allow enough time(Ten minutes) for all of the oil to drain out of the engine you will have left over oil!! Problem.......yes.
    I allow Fifteen minutes for as much oil as possible to empty from all of my vehicles.
  • hi,

    my wife has a 2002 malibu ls with 28,000 miles on it which we purchased brand new. she basically drives it to work and back and to go shopping. she changes the oil every 3k miles, always checks tire pressure, she changed her brakes in the front for the 1st time 2 months ago.

    since the owners manual doesn't really specify this we are a bit confused. how often should she flush the radiator? we have not done it once since she owned it in 4 years.

    also, what other recommended maintenance chould she be doing? did i miss anything?
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    your Malibu has Dexcool which needs to be changed at either 5 years or 150k miles. You have one more year to go.
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    Well to keep it up to par I would change the coolant now. Replace the transmission fluid and filter, NO FLUSH, most likely it would cause problems, just pan drop and filter change. Don’t let anyone talk you in to a transmission flush. This would be a good time to replace the fuel filter.
    These recommendations are what I do with my vehicles, they go trouble free on the big stuff, engine, transmission.
  • I am the original owner of a '99 'bu LS with 60K miles. Have been generally satisfied with the my car with the primarily problems: warped rotors (replaced under warranty), intake manifold gasket work, and alternator replacement. Oh, and the A/C control problem often noted on this board.

    Here's my current problem:

    I just recently had my radiator flushed. To be honest, I went over the 5 year limit by two years. My local Chevy dealer did the flush. Now 4 weeks later, the car is consistantly running hot (the temp needle crosses the half way mark - which is has never done before) and I have had to add coolant several times - once the light indicator for adding coolant came on. Thoughts on possible problems or other indicators I need to look at????

    I had the much noted intake manifold gasket work done several years ago and there is no evidence of antifreeze in the oil but am not sure if this is the only indicator of this problem.

    Thank you in advance for any advice!!

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